How to Keep Your Heart Healthy During Pregnancy
February 9, 2021During pregnancy, the extra blood needed to supply your growing baby puts extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Keeping your heart as healthy as possible not only ensures your own health but also helps promote healthy growth for your baby.
So how do you keep your heart healthy during pregnancy? Doctors recommend living a heart-healthy lifestyle before you even conceive.
Heart Health, Pre-Conception
Taking care of your cardiovascular health should be part of your overall lifestyle, regardless of whether or not you are pregnant. However, focusing on heart health before you start trying to conceive can help promote a healthy pregnancy. Preconception heart health is especially important for women who have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or familial hypercholesterolemia.1
Here are a few ways to focus on your heart health before you become pregnant:
- Eliminate the bad habits (smoking, overeating, drinking too much, abusing drugs, etc. Get help from a professional if you need it.)
- Improve your diet (eat more fruits and veggies, cut back on fast food, avoid soft drinks, watch your portion size.)
- Take a prenatal vitamin (starting a prenatal vitamin that contains iron before conception may help promote healthy blood production and may even help you conceive.)2
Heart Health During Pregnancy
Cardiovascular disease is now the leading cause of maternal death, contributing to 26.5% of deaths. Women of color and those who are in a lower income bracket experience the highest mortality rates.1-2 Maintaining your heart health throughout your entire pregnancy can help you avoid complications that could potentially threaten your own or your baby’s life.
Here are a few ways you can improve and/or maintain your heart health throughout pregnancy:
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce stress
- Get plenty of rest
- Maintain a healthy diet (avoid cold cuts and cured meats, eat foods rich in folate.)
- Take a prenatal vitamin containing iron and folic acid (iron helps your body produce enough blood, and folic acid may help boost your cardiovascular health, along with the health of your baby. One study found that folic acid may even help reduce the risk of stroke for people with high blood pressure.2-3)
Prenatal Vitamins Support Heart Health
Taking a prenatal vitamin in conjunction with maintaining a healthy diet, even before you become pregnant, may help support your own heart health as well as a healthy pregnancy.
Although not all prenatal vitamins are created equally, most will contain iron to help support your heart and your body’s need to produce extra blood during pregnancy. Without iron, we would be unable to make hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also responsible for helping our bodies make myoglobin in muscles (your heart is technically a muscle.)4
Always talk with your doctor about nutritional supplements or medications before taking them. Getting high levels of some nutrients over a long period of time can be harmful to your health, so it is not recommended that women who are not pregnant take prenatal vitamins for an extended period of time, especially if they do not plan on becoming pregnant.5
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is brought to you by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.